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When Wendy Heath sought to stand out from her competition in Southern California real estate, she chose the undress-for-success method.

The Belmont Shore mom, 34, erected a photograph of herself sporting a bikini on a giant billboard, accompanied by her dog, proclaiming the message: “got real estate?”.


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Wendy Health and her dog, ‘Bruiser,’ in Belmont Shore, Calif., ad

Her billboard is now receiving national attention, being featured on cable news shows, and visits to her website went from 2,000 to 20,000 in just one day this week.

“I wanted to set myself apart and kind of shock the shore, and, you know, drive people to my website and increase my business,” Heath told MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. “There’s many, many real-estate agents in our area, and it’s hard to break through and set yourself apart. … I am absolutely amazed that one billboard could cause so much attention, but I am absolutely elated.”

Not everyone is as excited as Heath.

One woman colleague in the housing market wrote in an online messageboard:

Well, as a fellow realtor, but also someone with the body to do exactly what she did, I think she took the blonde-bimbo way out. If we, as professional real-estate agents, have to result to using our scantily clad bodies to gain clients, maybe we need to look inside ourselves at what we are lacking professionally.

There are many tough real-estate markets nationwide, but when we tear down the image we are struggling so hard to display (which is that every real-estate transaction benefits from the experience and knowledge that only a professional realtor can provide), we essentially lose all that we have worked to achieve. Thanks, Ms. Heath, for destroying all our credibility in one fell, ditzy swoop.

Responding to critics, Heath told Scarborough, “I am a college-educated female. I am a mother of six children. And my husband is supportive of me. And, ultimately, in terms of women, I mean, if I was up there and, you know, not tastefully up there, then that would be something I would be concerned about, by all means. But it’s done tastefully. I have the dog in front of my body. There’s a little bit of cleavage showing there. And you know what? I’m female.”

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